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post #1 of 17 Old 09-04-2006 Thread Starter
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Question Deck Core Repair

Hello! I just purchased a 27 foot Cheoy Lee Offshore that is in need of deck repairs. It is obvious that alot of the core is either rotted or delaminated and there is a small area of the inside fiberglass that has fallen out. Someone attempted to repair it but they did a poor job. I plan on doing the work myself (this will save about 15k in repair costs) but the only problem is my job usually keeps me busy up until November and then I have the winter off. I live in Everett Washington and plan on doing the work in Port Townsend. Anyone that has ever lived in western Washington knows that it pretty much rains or mists everyday in the winter. I'm looking to hear from anyone that has done this type of repair and opinions on doing this repair in the winter in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks in advance for any and all comments!
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post #2 of 17 Old 09-04-2006
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If you can put a tent or tarp of some sort over the boat, you should be able to do the repairs fairly well, even in spite of the weather. You are fortunate in that the temperatures are probably going to be high enough that the epoxy resin you will be using will still kick, which is not the case in New England's winters.

To make the job easier on yourself... I would recommend that you do the core replacement from the top, by cutting open the top skin and drying out the hull after removing the bad core material. This will make it much easier to do a good job on the repair, as you won't need the bracing and support that you would need if the repair was done from the bottom side up—and gravity will help you instead of work against you. I would do the inside are of fiberglass last...as then you will have the new good core to laminate it to. Any questions, PM me.

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post #3 of 17 Old 09-04-2006
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Harry, the folks at West System epoxies have PFD files on the whole procedure on their web site. You'll need to work clean, warm, and dry, so you'll definitely have to tent it over and chose materials to match the temperature range (generally over 50F even for "winter" epoxies) or else add a large heater below deck to keep it heated as well.

I'd also recommend working from the top, and then refinishing the deck to hide the work. Working UNDER large areas of epoxy...ugh. I just can't think that's worth it.
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post #4 of 17 Old 09-07-2006 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses! In a totally masochistic way I am kind of excited about getting started.
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post #5 of 17 Old 09-07-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
I'd also recommend working from the top, and then refinishing the deck to hide the work. Working UNDER large areas of epoxy...ugh. I just can't think that's worth it.
It is also probably more prone to lamination failure than working from the top.

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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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post #6 of 17 Old 09-07-2006
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http://forums.delphiforums.com/CheoyLeeAssoc/messages

this is forum for Cheoy Lee's good information for restoration
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post #7 of 17 Old 09-07-2006
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Does your Cheoy Lee have teak decks? That would add a whole new dimension, of course...it sounds like if your considering going in from above that you do not. Anyway your $15k quote sounds like a re-coring of most or all of the deck. You mention it was obvious that most of the deck was rotted or delam'd - had you determined that with a moisture meter, by feel or the sound the deck makes when you walk on it? Reason I ask is that you may want to consider the less invasive, less technically demanding option of drilling 1/4" holes from above in the wet or delam'd areas, maybe 1" apart, drying the core out and then refilling with epoxy.

I did this in a Columbia 32 over about 20-30 of my deck - in those areas where I could actually feel the softness of the core (confirmed by the mush that the drill bit sucked out. I drilled a pattern of holes about 1" apart radiating out to the points where the drill pulled up dry core, being carefull not to pierce bottom skin. I also drilled where you could hear the crunching sound of delamination. In those areas the core was dry (that's why I heard crunching) and it just needed "gluing".

I'd do about 2-3 feet of deck at a time and kept a heat lamp or other heat source going for a few days down below to get it to dry thoroughly. There were some areas that were so wet I actually pulled out water and disintegrated core material by rotating an ice pick in the hole and using a large wet-vac to suck out whatever I could from the hole and adjacent holes. After a few days of drying, I'd very slowly inject straight, unthickened West epoxy into all the holes until they filled.

I chose this route because I though it was easier to refinish the deck after filling and faring the holes than it would have been if I had to remove and replace the upper skin, even given the challenges a textured non-skid poses. I could also tackle smaller more manageable pieces of the job at a time. Even punky core gets rock solid if it's dried and then filled with unthickened epoxy.

Clearly this process should not be used for an entire deck, but it's likely that you'll find only a portion is so wet that it needs repair. As I said, I kept drilling outward until I found reasonably dry core and then I stopped. I only used about 3 quarts of epoxy for the entire job. I thought this technique gave me a good structural repair with a reasonable investment of time and even more reasonable with respect to money.

Aside from the cost of the epoxy, the biggest expense was drill bits. I think fiberglass is tougher on bits than metal!

I don't think I'd even try a repair from below (can you imagine getting a facefull of epoxy?), or a repair that involved removing teak decking, unless the decking needed replacing.

Get copy of Don Casey's "This Old Boat", if you don't already have one. I think it's mandatory reading for do-it-yourselfers! He outlines this technique in great detail.

Good Luck!!! JPZ
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post #8 of 17 Old 09-08-2006 Thread Starter
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She does have teak decks but I plan on replacing it with treadmaster. I know,it is a shame to get rid of the teak decks because they do look really good. But I need to be sailing and not worrying about the decks all the time.

I haven't checked the core with a moisture meter but when the surveyor and I inspected the decks we got that hollow thump on about 3/4 of the deck. Down below there is about a one foot square area missing of the inner layer of fiberglass. I don't know how or why it is missing but one of the previous owners tried to repair it with straight epoxy and most of it has fallen out. I can see the core from there and it appears to be rotted, at least in that area.

I agree with the idea that repairing the decks from below would be a mess and I really don't want to deal with it. Plus there are a few areas that I just couldn't get to. I think, for now, that the harder areas to repair, such as the small areas of the deck that are aft and have the most hardware attached are solid. I think (I keep saying "I think" because I really havean't had a chance to really get in there and inspect) the biggest area and the area of greatest concern is the foredeck.

I got the quote for the repair over the phone and I described to the boatyard the worst case senario of the whole deck core needing repair.

As I mentioned before, I am kind of looking forward to get in there and start work. It will give me a project for the winter and it will enable me to really get to know my boat. I also intend to unstep the mast and totally refurbish it and also replace all the 37 year old wiring. A couple of years prior to me buying her, all the mast hardware and rigging was replaced so hopefully I don't have to replace any of that stuff.

Thanks for your input, I really appreciate any and all suggestions. To me that is the beauty of this forum. We all love sailboats and most of us don't mind getting in there and getting our hands dirty.
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post #9 of 17 Old 09-08-2006
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Repairing smaller sections from below is really not that hard if you have good access. I had a section about 1 foot sqaure replaced last spring and will be doing a couple more shortly.

I cut out the bottom skin untill I had dry core all around. Then I pro came along and using a green paste, which I assume was a polyester, spread it on the top skin and then put a piece of core held in palce by 1/4" plywood coverd with wax paper under it while it set up.
Then a couple of layers of glass and it was done.

Now that I have seen it done it will be straight forward to get the other 3 areas. Won't work for a whole deck but it would be a shame to rip of a teak deck if you do not have to.
Good Luck
Gary
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post #10 of 17 Old 09-08-2006
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JPZ- If the core materials were so rotted that you could get them out using an icepick and a shopvac, then you really should be replacing the core, not just injecting epoxy. Just injecting epoxy will add strength, but not as much as a proper replacement of the core, and the resulting cored laminate. It is also going to be much heavier than a proper core repair.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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